How many times do victims of domestic violence ask themselves, “How do I get out of here?” When we become survivors, the question then becomes, “How did I get there in the first place?” After all, it makes no sense that anyone would actually set out to become the battered half of an abusive relationship, does it? I’ve not only heard the questions, and I’ve asked them of myself on many occasions. Some are:
“I thought I was smarter than this.”
“He was so nice at first. How can he say he loves me, but treat me this way?”
“Is God punishing me?”
“Are the things he’s telling me true?”
“What if he does take my children away from me?”
“How will I afford to live, feed and clothe the kids…”
“Am I really a victim of domestic violence? He’s never hit me before.”
“Is he capable of killing me?”
Then we find our way to surviving the abuse and violence. We go from victim to survivor. And the questions change to:
“I was smart, and still am. My intelligence or lack of it is not what got me there.”
“Abuse is not love. I know the red flags to look for now, and realize they were there then.”
“God loves me.”
“I was not then, nor am I now, stupid or ugly or useless or…”
“Turns out he never really wanted custody. He just wanted to control me.”
“Thank God for friends, agencies, organizations and others who are there to help victims take care of themselves and their children.”
“I never thought verbal or emotional abuse was part of domestic violence. Boy, was I wrong!”
“I have no doubt if I had stayed, I’d be dead.”
Along the line some of us survivors become advocates, reaching out to share our stories of abuse that eventually changed to testimonies of hope, freedom and empowerment. We rediscovered the whole, healed and healthy woman dwelling inside us. We are ready to extend a hand to lift other victims out of their depths of despair. We get it. We’ve been there, now we’re here, with help in our hands, our voices and our hearts.
Oh, the things we can do with all the positives that have come from a past full of abuse and violence. Now we are here. We are equipped to make a difference.
That, my dear ones, is why we were there then—but we are here now. Another link in the chain of survivors bringing hope and faith to damaged and battered victims. I suppose it’s sort of paying it backward…
Carolyn is an advocate for sexual/domestic violence and assault awareness, also focusing on child sexual abuse. She is a Life Direction & Empowerment Coach, working with victims and survivors of molestation, sexual assault, domestic violence or spousal abuse, and bringing training to organizations seeking to help victims. Read her story in her book, ORANGE BLOSSOM WISHES: Child Molested, Woman Abused—Her Victorious Journey to Freedom and visit her website: orangeblossomwishes.com.
- Emotional Abuse and Domestic Violence – Partners in Crime (cshennecy.wordpress.com)
- DOMESTIC VIOLENCE – Where Does it Begin? (cshennecy.wordpress.com)